2006 Focus: Chase Budinger

Jud Buechler is a name not too many people remember, but that's who most people compare Chase Budinger to - because of his exploits in basketball and volleyball.

Chase Budinger could go to college just about anywhere he wants – for volleyball. Ditto for basketball.

The two-sport star, who evokes comparisons to former basketball-volleyball standout Jud Buechler, still hasn't made up his mind whether he'll stick to basketball – or try and play volleyball as well at the next level.

``I'm still debating about that," said the 6-foot-6, 195-pound Budinger. "I have a lot of thinking to do."

One thing is for certain. Budinger can pick whichever one he wants.

Budinger is coming off a season at La Costa Canyon High (Calif.) in which he put up 27.9 points and 13.5 boards per contest. He's got a versatile game that some say is a cross between Buechler and another San Diego product, Luke Walton.

Budinger is athletic. He has a 40-plus inch vertical. He can rebound, run the court and he plays hard. He's grown recently and is now pushing 6-foot-7. He had 51 points against powerhouse Mater Dei this season and proved it was no fluke with 48 against Poway and 43 vs. Rancho Bernardo.

``He's just so tough," La Costa Canyon basketball coach David Cassaw said. "He's unique because of what he's able to do at his size."

``He's 6-7 and can jump out of the gym," Southern Cal All-Stars Pat Barrett said. "He can take the ball to the basket and also push it like a point guard. He handles it so well now that he can go coast-to-coast. He can shoot the 3 and also get up and dunk on you. His game has gone to a new level now that he's concentrating more on basketball."

Then you go to volleyball, where he had 17 kills, a trio of blocks and two aces to help lead the U.S. 2004 Boys' Youth Team to a championship at the NORCECA Continental Championships in Mexico City. Budinger earned Best Attacker and tournament MVP honors.

Long Beach State, UC-Irvine, UCLA and Pepperdine are among those who have offered a scholarship for volleyball. UCLA, Arizona, Oregon, Kansas and USC are the schools he's seriously considering for basketball.

``I'm more passionate towards basketball," Budinger said. "That's the main one."

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